Women living closer to grocery store 'are more likely to be obese'

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Washington, July 3 (ANI): The closer a woman lives to the grocery store, the greater is her BMI, found a study.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo conducted a neighbourhood-scaled exploratory study that tested the association between the food environment, the built environment and women's body mass index (BMI).

And they have found that women with homes closer to a supermarket, relative to a convenience store, had lower BMIs, and that the greater the number of restaurants within a five minute walk of a woman's home, the higher her BMI.

The study, led by Dr. Samina Raja UB professor of urban and regional planning, involved 172 participants.

"In particular, three findings are significant," said Raja.

"First, a greater number of restaurants within a five-minute walk of a subject's house was associated with a greater BMI, holding other factors constant.

"Second, on average, women who live within relative proximity to supermarkets and grocery stores (as opposed to convenience stores) tend to have lower BMIs.

"Third, and perhaps most important, the interaction of the food environment and the built environment in a neighbourhood carries significant consequences for obesity. For example, a diverse land-use mix, while beneficial for promoting physical activity, is tied to a net increase in BMI when that land is dominated by restaurants," she added.

She said that future research on the built environment and health must take into account the role of the food environment on women's health.

And the study offers suggestions for how food environments may be improved using planning strategies.

The study was published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research. (ANI)

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